‘Victims of NSO Group malware are suing the company for espionage’




Leaked documents, which are in the hands of The New York Times, indicate that two lawsuits have been filed against the Israeli security company NSO Group. The cases would have been filed by victims accusing the company of espionage.

According to the newspaper , the charges were filed in Israel and in Cyprus, by a citizen of Qatar and by a group of Mexican journalists and activists. All of them would have been the target of the company’s malware. The lawyer in the Israeli case says to The New York Times that the charge must make it clear that the law must catch up on technology and that spyware makers are complicit in the privacy violations that are committed. NSO Group did not want to react to the charges against the newspaper. The company said in another statement that its products should only be used for the fight against terrorism and crime.

That would also have been the condition of NSO when it sold its products to Mexico, but according to the newspaper, human rights lawyers, journalists and activists were the target. In the other case, documents would show that the company actively helped to compile phishing messages with the aid of which malware could be installed on a device. It would also have helped to send the captured data.

The documents cite an example that leaders of the United Arab Emirates wanted proof from NSO that the product actually works. They therefore asked for recordings of phone calls from the emir of Qatar, of a Saudi prince and of a journalist. NSO reportedly broke up four days later with two recordings of the journalist’s talks, confirming to The New York Times that he had held the talks and that he did not know he was being watched.

The aforementioned malware would be the so – called Pegasus variant , which was discovered in 2016 thanks to human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor. In addition to an iOS version, which used three zero-days and a device after a click on a link could jailbreak, there appeared later also an Android version to exist. It would have been used to attack 35 devices in Israel, Georgia, Mexico and Turkey. In July the news came out that a former NSO employee Pegasus tried to sell for 50 million dollars.


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